A family had carefully educated their five-year-old girl not to have secrets, and her “trusted grandfather” is now in jail for her sexual abuse.
Christchurch District Court Judge Jane Farish said the 66-year-old’s online activity indicated that there was premeditation and he may have continued to abuse the girl.
“Fortunately, this young child had been well taught by her parents,” said the judge. “But for the education around not having secrets, she most probably would not have told her mother.”
The man has now begun a five-year three-month jail term and Judge Farish told him he would need to serve a rehabilitation programme such as Kia Marama before he could be considered for parole.
The man has name suppression to protect the young victim. He pleaded guilty to charges of indecent assault on a child, and two charges of unlawful sexual connection – oral sex – with the same child.
He also admitted five charge of possessing objectionable images. The images depicted bestialility involving adult women.
The girl’s mother described the man as a “trusted grandparent” who had offended against his only granddaughter when she had stayed at his house overnight. She felt “gutted” that the man had taken their daughter’s innocence.
The family now feared that she would repeat her disclosure to her friends or their parents, and there had been an incident when she and a friend had got naked while playing in a bedroom. She was going to weekly therapy sessions.
“Only time will tell how his actions will affect (our daughter) but that is a sentence we must all live with,” she said.
Crown prosecutor Chris White said he believed there had been some planning and premeditation. The man’s claims of remorse were “somewhat undermined” by his blaming of the victim.
“I think he’s in denial,” said the judge, noting that she had seen the man crying while the victim impact statement was read in court. He would not have any real understanding of his culpability until he had “meaningful therapy”.
Defence counsel Jeff McCall said the man acknowledged the destructive effects of the offending on the family. The man accepted that he committed the offending, but could not understand why he did it. “He acknowledges that he needs intensive help from professionals.”
Judge Farish said the man had caused significant damage and harm to the child. The girl was now going to therapy to try to deal with issues that arose when children were sexualised at such a young age.
“The saving grace is that she has protective and intelligent parents,” said the judge. “Hopefully, she will have a good and normal life and the offending will pale from her memory.”
The man’s wife has now left him and he has become isolated from his family. He will be automatically registered as a child sex offender.